每日跟讀#750: Aesthetic makeover: TRA launches new tour train
When the plans for the Taiwan Railway Administration’s (TRA) NT$79 million (US$2.6 million) 29 “Formosa Express” passenger tour carriages were revealed earlier this year, the designs were met with an avalanche of criticism. In response, TRA director Chang Cheng-yuan announced in April that the company would hold consultations on the design, and that the most vehement detractors would be invited to contribute.
Headed by designer Han Wu, the team of consultants brought together experts from various fields, and the award-winning Taiwanese design firm J. C. Architecture was invited to undertake an aesthetic makeover, designing the 13 cars yet to be converted.
Unveiled on Friday, the newly designed TRA Tour Train sports a black and orange exterior, imparting an air of gravitas to its new look. Redundant signs distracting from the minimalist interior design were removed, and soft lighting was introduced to create a comfortable, relaxing ambience, to give passengers the impression of being in a hotel.
The curtains in the carriages are based on the works of Yuma Taru, an aboriginal craftswoman, employing geometric shapes suggestive of mountains, while the upholstery utilizes blues and grays, a reference to Taiwan’s oceans, rocks and mountains. The overall effect goes beyond that of a simple means of transportation, and now has more of an emotional impact.
Commenting on why black and orange were chosen for the exterior, Nora Wang, co-founder of J. C. Architecture, says that black imparts a sense of mystery and sobriety, and that old photos of TRA train carriages show that black was widely used for train exteriors in the past. The orange, meanwhile, is a reference to the Chu Kuang Express train designs. The tour train’s black and orange theme is therefore a link to railway history, reinvented from and recombining older design elements.
Wang’s favorite design is the bar counter area, reminiscent of a hotel reception, featuring a small lamp on the dining table, giving boarding passengers the impression they are entering a hotel. Passengers get to experience the hotel-like service, too, reclining in the train’s parlor car accompanied by friends and family, leisurely sipping coffee. The windows offer magnificent ocean views to the east and vistas of rice paddies and mountains to the west.
Wang says, “The TRA train is not just a means of transportation, it is a starting point for a journey.” She hopes that the TRA Tour Train will help promote rail travel in Taiwan. Tour trains in countries such as Japan and Italy attract visitors from all over the world every year, and Wang believes Taiwan has the potential to be like this. “Taiwan’s landscape is so beautiful,” she says, and “some scenery can only be seen from the train.”
Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2019/12/17/2003727649/2